Ellen DeGeneres has opened the new series of her talk show with an apology and an admission that “things happened here that never should have happened”.
On Monday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show returned to US screens for the first time since allegations emerged about a toxic work environment on set.
“I take this very seriously and I want to say I’m so sorry to the people it affected,” the host said.
She said an investigation had led to “the necessary changes” being made.
Three top show producers were recently fired amid claims of misconduct.
DeGeneres opened with a typically deadpan comedic tone, saying to the camera: “If you’re watching because you love me, thank you. If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
Through gritted teeth, she said she had had a “great summer – super terrific”.
But she soon turned serious as she addressed the misconduct and sexual harassment allegations that emerged earlier this year.
“I learned that things happened that should never have happened,” she said.
“If I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am sorry for that.”
The ‘be kind’ lady
She added that as a person in a position of power and privilege, the show and what happened within it was her responsibility.
“We have made the necessary changes and today we’re starting a new chapter,” she told viewers.
That included announcing that studio DJ Twitch had been promoted to co-executive producer.
She joked that becoming known as the “be kind lady”, from the show’s sign-off quote, was “a tricky position to be in”.
“If you want to give yourself a new nickname or title, don’t go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don’t do it.”
But she said that contrary to reports in “the press and social media… the truth is that I am the person that you see on your TV”. She continued: “I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I am sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient and I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.”
She said she wanted “every single one” of the 270 staff working on her show to “be happy and proud to work here”.
What happened at Ellen?
DeGeneres already apologised in an email to staff back in July, saying she was “committed to ensuring this does not happen again”, and made a further apology in a video meeting with her team in August.
A spokesperson for Warner Brothers confirmed the show “parted ways” with executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, in August.
In a story published earlier this year, several former employees told Buzzfeed News they had experienced racism while working on the show and some said they had been fired for taking bereavement days.
The show has won over 60 Emmy Awards since it first aired in 2003.